Tag Archives: Rockaway Beach Civic Association

Schumer pushes for co-op, condo Sandy relief


| mchan@queenscourier.com


New York’s senior senator has joined the ranks of leaders pushing for relief to storm-damaged co-ops and condos.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last Wednesday asking the agency to establish Sandy relief program guidelines for co-ops and condos.

Co-op and condo owners currently cannot receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Sandy-inflicted damages because they are categorized as “business associations,” according to elected federal officials. The title makes them eligible for federal loans but not grants.

“After Sandy, FEMA was able to help many communities. However, due to inflexible bureaucratic rules, co-op and condo homeowners were left in the wake,” Schumer said.

The Stafford Act, which governs how FEMA responds to major disasters, does not include the word “co-op” in the law, according to Congressmember Steve Israel. But there is no statute that purposefully bans co-op owners from being eligible for grants, a privilege given to homeowners.

Schumer called on HUD officials to use Community Development Block Grants Disaster Recovery funds to help co-op and condo owners repair and rebuild.

HUD allocated $5.4 billion to the recovery program early last week. New Yorkers are eligible to receive about $3.5 billion of that total.

Some Queens co-ops suffered $1 million in damages, including Cryder Point Co-ops, a waterfront community which has to repair its shambled pier.

More than half of the total buildings in Glen Oaks Village endured “moderate to severe shingle loss,” according to Bob Friedrich, the co-op’s president. The co-op will have to shell out $250,000 for infrastructural damage.

And nearly 3,000 Mitchell-Lama co-ops in the Rockaways are forced to shoulder repair costs, said Dolores Orr, co-op owner and president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association.

“It is astonishing to me that residential co-op buildings are not being afforded any financial assistance in the recovery from Sandy,” she said. “We are homeowners just like those who live in … family houses.”

 

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Star of Queens: John Cori, founder, Friends of Rockaway


| editorial@queenscourier.com

JOHN CORI PIC

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: In September 2010, community activist John Cori started the group “Friends of Rockaway.” The volunteer-based organization focuses on protecting the Rockaway community, preserving and replenishing the “wonderful beach-going experience” for everyone. Cori works constantly with partner Eddie Pastore to get funds for preserving the area.

Cori is also a member of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, and is running for president. He wants to revitalize the group, and get it even more involved in the community. Outside of the Rockaways, Cori has been active with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New York for roughly 26 years. To this day he keeps in touch with his “little brother;” the two are among the longest matches that the group has ever had.

BACKGROUND: Cori grew up in Rockaway Beach, loving the sun and sand as most Rockaway residents do. He enjoyed paddle boarding, surfing, body surfing and other water activities, as well as skateboarding. “I still skateboard,” laughed Cori. “I’m a big kid.” He also enjoys spending time with his two children, Christopher, 21 and Victoria, 18.

FAVORITE MEMORY: “Oh that’s easy, the most recent rally we had,” said Cori. The Friends of Rockaway frequently holds rallies, takes out ads and hits the pavement to talk to residents about what the peninsula needs, especially after Sandy. He believes the Rockaways need more rock jetties to protect the beach and the area behind it, and the most recent rally, “We’re Ready for our Jetties,” spread knowledge about just how that would be accomplished.

INSPIRATION: Cori’s inspiration for his tireless activism lies within “the love of the beach and protection for my neighborhood,” he said. “The beach, to me, is the greatest thing in the world.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Many of the committees, such as the Parks Committee and the local Community Board, don’t meet as often as Cori feels they should. “There’s a lack of support from the Community Board,” he said. “[They’re] the first vehicle by which we should have been able to get this issue any attention.”

He fears that if all committees are not working together, the community becomes a “reactionary body” instead of a “proactive body.” But in the meantime, Cori will continue his own work to get the Rockaways the recognition that he believes it deserves.



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Star of Queens: Dolores Orr


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

DOLORES ORR 01-03

Star of Queens: Dolores Orr, Community Board 14 Chair 

INVOLVEMENT: As chair of Community Board 14, Dolores Orr oversees happenings all over the Rockaway peninsula. She works with the community board staff and city agencies to address quality of life issues, such as zoning problems, economic development and, most recently, post-Sandy clean up. Orr is also the president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association.

PERSONAL: Born and raised in Rockaway, Orr is the third generation of “civil servants” throughout the peninsula; her father grew up just blocks from where she grew up. Both of her grandparents were members of the NYPD, and her grandmother was one of the first Gold Shield detectives in the 1930s. One of seven children, her family still lives in the Rockaways, just blocks from her home on Shore Front Parkway.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Orr’s favorite memory is also what she considers to be her greatest accomplishment – the Arverne By The Sea project. Advertised as “New York City’s hottest new oceanfront community,” Orr and the community board saw the project through from the space being a vacant lot, to now being a completely occupied, luxurious living facility.

INSPIRATION: Orr believes that her inspiration comes from a combination of being raised by “civil servants” and also believing in community service as part of your everyday life. “I just love where I live, and I want it to be better,” she said.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Because of its geographic isolation, an increase in public transportation is what Orr said is the “number one need.” “We need [more transportation] for both growth and for people in the borough and in the city to come out and enjoy Rockaway,” she said. She also said that there is a need for better schools – now, many students travel off of the peninsula for high school, and Orr knows that a greater focus on education could result in children staying local for school. Lately, a challenge for Orr has been dealing with the “many more layers of government” after the storm to ensure that their shoreline is restored better than before, and also jumping over the “many road blocks” to help residents and small businesses get back on their feet.

 

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